Ties that Bind: Regionalism, Commercial Treaties, and the Future of Global Economic Integration
60 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2007 Last revised: 16 Dec 2007
This article provides an in-depth analysis of the at times problematic interplay of regional and bilateral treaties regulating international economic law. Though academics have long debated whether regional and bilateral instruments threaten the hegemony of the multilateral trading system, no attention has been paid to equally far-reaching tensions arising between regional and bilateral agreements themselves. Scholars have instead almost universally treated bilateral and regional commercial agreements as functionally indistinguishable. This article draws on recent empirical evidence to show that bilateral commercial comprise a distinct and important mode of cooperation at times inconsistent with the aims of some regional organizations and frameworks. It also examines the likely outcomes for such conflicts of law, and incorporates the findings in a critical reassessment of the possible costs and benefits of multi-level economic integration.
Keywords: International Economic Law, Bilateral Investment Treaties, Regionalism, World Trade Organization, European Union, Mercosur, Andean Community, International Politics, Multilateralism, Bilateralism, Free Trade, Globalization
JEL Classification: F00, F20, F23, F31, K00, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation